NYC Polystyrene ban goes into effect

Starting July 1st, food service establishments and stores are not allowed to use products containing expanded polystyrene (EPS). The law provides a six-month transition period, before imposing fines on violation.

KINGSTON (Scrap Monster): The New York City Polystyrene ban has officially gone into effect beginning July 1st. According to terms of the ban, food service establishments and stores are prohibited from selling, distributing or promoting the use of single-service expanded polystyrene (EPS) products including cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers, and trays and polystyrene loose fill packaging. Businesses are being granted six-month grace period from the effective date to comply with the regulation. Starting 1st Jan, 2016, fines will be issued to violators.

Plastic Recycling
NYC Polystyrene ban goes into effect

Meantime, a lawsuit filed by the Restaurant Action Alliance NYC is still pending. The lawsuit claims that city’s ban is in clear violation of statutory mandate that directs the city to explore possibilities of economically and environmentally feasible recycling solutions if available. The City had authorized the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to determine whether foam could be included in curbside recycling program. However, DSNY, after consultations with stakeholders, had announced that recycling of these products could not be carried out in a cost-efficient manner.

As per the suit, Dart Container Corp had presented an offer to include EPS in curbside recycling. It had identified a buyer in Indianapolis-based Plastics Recycling, Inc. (PRI) towards purchase of NY’s polystyrene for five years. The suit states that the City never responded to the offer made by Dart Container to recycle foam packaging collected in the city at no cost. It reminded that there is still huge commercial demand for recycled foam packaging in the US and Canada.

The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has urged those using foam packaging to switch to other alternatives such as paper, plastic, aluminum, and biodegradable products. However, nonprofits and small businesses with less than $500,000 in yearly revenue may apply for a hardship exemption from the Department of Small Business Services if they can prove that the purchase of alternative non-EPS products would create undue financial burden.